Day 4 – Lance Creek to Neel Gap

7.9 miles, 25,744 steps, 239 stories

Total:  40.5 miles, 122,861 steps, 1063 stories

Trail Magic Moments: 2 

Last night was a bit scary. The cold was like nothing I’ve experienced before. Lying in my tent while strong winds attempted to tear my tent away-luckily they failed.  I watched as the rain hit the top of my tent and turned to ice as it started to slide off the side. I am typically someone who handles the cold well but, in my tent, wrapped in my sleeping bag and liner while wearing two pairs of socks, underlayers and pants, shirt, fleece jacket, down jacket, balaclava, gloves and a knitted cap, I was still uncomfortably cold. I never started shivering, so it didn’t get dangerous but was still very uncomfortable (Sorry if you’re reading this, mom)!

In the morning, it was difficult to break camp. The ground was frozen making it difficult to get the tent stakes out and my tent poles had frozen together but eventually I was able to thaw them out and get hiking.  I was excited to get moving again.  It’s so easy to get used to just walking every day.  After just a few days, you can’t remember what it was like to NOT walk for hours every day.  I feel stronger and  I’m looking forward for when my body gets more used to it.

I was rewarded however with one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. All the trees were covered with frost so it was like walking through a winter wonderland but without having to deal with the snow. In the distance you could see the tops of mountains also covered in frost but my favorite was when I got to areas where there were evergreens because you had the green leaves covered with the white frost.  Simply beautiful.

Eventually, I summited Blood Mt with Sycamore, Not Yet, and Failure for a gorgeous view of the frosted mountaintops and the frost covered valley. It was an incredible day.

The four of us ended off at the famous hostel at Neel Gap known as Mountain Crossing. I was finally able to get a shower,  wash my smelly clothes, recharge the batteries.

I met Baltimore Jack, a 9 time thru-hiker that now helps take care of the hostel. He tried to make fun of me for my Yankees beanie.  He’s from Boston, but still a nice guy :).   He was very helpful helping everyone find their needed gear at the store.

The store is a fully stocked outfitter where I was able to send about 5lbs of gear home and get some lighter replacements (so many of you warned me when I posted the pic of what I was bringing,  I should’ve listened!)  Also, and more importantly get some pizza!

Some Girl Scouts had stayed at the hostel the night before and left some pasta and ice cream as well as some cans of chili. Buffalo Jack made everyone the chili and loaded it with all kinds of cheese, as tempting as it was I decided against the chili (you’re welcome fellow hikers) but enjoyed plenty of pasta.

The weather should be better the next two days and I’m looking forward to putting some miles in.

I was finally able to upload these, enjoy!  Maria will be adding more later:

Also, I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again, thank you soooooo much for the kind words! 🙂



View from the hostel.  The place was amazing.

Hikers’ shoes hanging from a tree.

11 thoughts on “Day 4 – Lance Creek to Neel Gap

  1. Reading your blogs makes me want to do this, even the hard weather hitting the tent while being wrapped and stuffed like a burrito as you described. Keep going, you’re doing awesome!! The pics are great! Sending the kids off to school, and before I study for my exam I sit with my coffee and just read your blogs. A morning must and engulf myself into your experiences. So thank you for that! Looking forward to more!! Be safe, Love ya!!

    1. Yeah, this has been a great experience so far. You and Austin should do a long hike sometime. There are plenty of shorter trails if you only have a few weeks. You guys can hike across the Grand Canyon in a couple of days.

  2. Thanks not only for sharing this experience, but for being a good writer too (that goes for Maria as well, back in New York, editing, I assume, by candlelight!)

  3. I’m curious to know what you have shed from your pack and what you replaced , being cold is totally no fun at all – I will boil some water and put it in a Nalgene bottle then put it in the bottom of my sleeping bag – happy trails 🙂

    1. I shed one of my cameras and the case, a tripod, a journal, some extra tent stakes, my battery/solar charger and some other small stuff. The big thing was the camera and case because I was putting it on my packs belt and it just kept loosening on me. Feels so much better now.

  4. Brrrrr…that sounded so cold! Thankfully, it’ll be warmer soon and you’ll be complaining of heat. But hopefully in the mountains, it won’t be miserably hot. Glad you got a shower and good food!

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